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Kingston, Ont. retailers feeling effects of global supply chain issues

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As we head into the busiest time of the year for retailers, global supply chain issues may cause that perfect item to be missing from the shelf – Nov 22, 2021

It’s the Super Bowl of shopping.

The holiday season is a time of year when checkout lines are long as shoppers look for that perfect gift.

But in the lead-up to a second pandemic Christmas, experts are warning consumers to be prepared to miss out.

The Grinch in this story is the global supply chain. COVID-19 has impacted every link in the chain, from manufacturing to shipping and trucking.

“There are supply chain issues all over the world right now,” Queen’s University marketing professor Tandy Thomas said. “And retailers are just not able to get the inventory that they would like to. This is pervasive across a whole range of product categories.”

And there’s no telling when things will clear up.

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Downtown gift shop Send in the Clowns says the supply chain issues have definitely been an inconvenience.

“Usually I get everything in the summertime and I price it and put it out. But this year it’s all sort of coming in now,” owner Rebecca Miller said. “We had the bulk of it in October, so it’s been a little frustrating trying to get everything out.”

Knowing there could be supply issues, Kingston’s British Isles Shoppe put in a holiday order in June.

Still, that wasn’t early enough.

“When the goods leave in September, then you find out that 40 per cent of your inventory is not in stock because the U.K. shelves are empty,” British Isles Shoppe owner Robert Paterson said.

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The situation has forced Paterson to get creative.

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“What it’s doing for me especially is some of my clothing, some of my T-shirts and my mugs I get from Scotland, it’s making me design them here in Canada to make sure I can control my own stock,” Paterson said.

Paterson figures he’ll be in good shape as the holidays approach, but does warn customers to pick up items when they see them.

There might not be another one on the shelf during your next shopping trip.

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